IRA : ” No . But these negotiations are causing a lot of anxiety although by the time this interview appears in print there might be some conclusion to those negotiations .
It is for the men in the H-Blocks and their comrades in Armagh Prison to decide . It’s not even up to us to decide. They are the sole negotiating body . They are undoubtedly political prisoners . In February and March this year we privately decided to suspend attacks on prison warders but the beatings meted out by them to the republican prisoners continued .
It wasn’t until June this year after prisoners had been continually beaten , after there was no progress in O Fiaich’s ‘initiative’ that we decided to resume those attacks . Since June there has only been one IRA attack on the warders but we have said it is open season on them again . We want the H-Blocks settled , we don’t want to see warders killed. The H-Blocks are of no propaganda purpose to us. Our people in the jails are suffering real deprivations and we want that resolved.”
[END of ‘THE IRA’]
(Next : ‘DUBLIN 1980 – THE GLUE SNIFFERS’)
HOPE IN THE SHADOWS…….
For some Northern nationalists the Anglo-Irish Agreement (‘Hillsborough Treaty’,1985) only makes their lives more dangerous , for others it offers hope on a road to nowhere. Fionnuala O’Connor visited a (Provisional) Sinn Fein advice centre in the Ardoyne and Seamus Mallon’s office in Newry.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine, December 1986.
Sitting in his chair below the ‘Death or Victory’ IRA poster , Tom Fleming lit another cigarette and leaned a little closer to the electric heater . ” If the SDLP can maintain things even at the present level and keep on promising – that, plus the Catholic Church’s attitude to (P) Sinn Fein and it’s support (*) for the IRA – they can hoodwink a lot of people.” (‘1169…’ Comment * – “support” then, condemnation now for those in Ireland who militarily challenge the British political and military presence!)
I stopped three people on a midweek morning to ask the way to Seamus Mallon’s Newry office and all three were from Dublin , up doing their shopping! In his office , the new SDLP MP’s two staff – young and paid – had brought in those elected to speak for the party : local councillor Tommy McGrath and Frank Feely, elected to the defunct ‘Assembly’ .
We were straight into the question of “I” voters , at least 800 of them in Newry town , they said , at least twice that number in the local government area , and every one of them annoyed for years because they could vote in Westminster elections but could not vote for their local council ! Guess who they’d vote for once the Anglo-Irish Agreement (Hillsborough Treaty) finally did the right thing by them…….?
A BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS…….
A look at issues raised by Liz Curtis’ recent book.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, August 1984.
Review by Trisha Fox.
While a handful of TV producers such as Colin Thomas- who resigned from the BBC in protest at cuts made to his 1978 documentary about daily life in Derry – have taken a protest stance , most consciously choose to work within the system and to get their material transmitted , while acknowledging the limitations of their practice.
‘Acceptable Levels’, a recent film made for Channel 4 , dealt with this issue of ‘self-censorship’ by TV producers . The film’s storyline is about a crew making a liberal documentary about the effects of ‘the troubles’ on children from both communities . Towards the end of the crew’s film-shooting , a nationalist child gets shot with a plastic bullet and the crew are thrown into a dilemma as to whether they should incorporate this material into the final film , which would change the original (and pre-conceived) concept of the documentary . Inevitably , they decide to omit it .